Being a freelancer is great, but its also very isolating. Thankfully there’s the internet, which allows me to make connections with other artists, share comments and ideas, and get feedback on my work without ever leaving my studio.
Over time I’ve found a few good websites that are designed to give artists a sense of creative community. Many “assign” projects for members to sketch or illustrate based on a special theme, just for practice or for fun. I can’t take part nearly as often as I’d like to, but when I can it’s a blast! The projects/themes give you lot of creative freedom (more than you would usually get with a client), and the feedback from other members is often very helpful.
Here’s a few I’ve participated in…
Unfortunately this one is pretty much a closed group. I was lucky enough to get on board early on.
A word is chosen each week, then you do an illustration inspired by that word. Post a link to your work the following Friday. Open to all. Just sign up to have each week’s word e-mailed to you.
This website is a fun forum in general, with lots of interesting topics and loads of artwork from artists of all skill levels. Most of the participants are from the animation and comics side of things. If you dig around there are usually several “drawing jams” going on at any given time (warning: some Jams use pornography and/or immodest photos for reference). My most recent contribution was to a Jam about Dragons and a Christmas Cards thread (like I said, I can’t contribute that often). Open to all, but you must register as a member.
Strange Behavior Challenge by the CG Society
I just stumbled on this one recently. I hope I can take part, although I doubt I will have time. Open to all, but you must register as a member.
If you know of any others, please post them.